A well-heeled suburb of San José, Escazú often draws comparisons to Beverly Hills, with sprawling mansions and hotels dotted around the hills. Though there is little in the way of traditional tourist attractions here, there are lots of draws, including upscale malls, chic boutiques and restaurants, and views of the Central Valley.
Escazú encompasses three towns centers, each with their own central plaza and church: San Rafael de Escazú, San Miguel de Escazú, and San Antonio de Escazú. San Rafael de Escazú—which sits at the lowest elevation and is closest to San José—is the busiest and most-visited of the three. It centers on Avenida Escazú, where you’ll find various high-end shops, condominiums, restaurants, offices, a jump-through water fountain, and several sculptures. A little farther away sits San Miguel de Escazú, while the decidedly more rural San Antonio de Escazú is located farther up the slopes.
Most travelers who come to Escazú use the peaceful and tranquil suburb as a base for exploring Costa Rica’s Central Valley, taking day trips to Poas Volcano National Park, Braulio Carrillo National Park, and Irazu Volcano National Park. Some food tours of San José also make stops at restaurants in the area.
Things to know before you go
- Escazú makes an ideal base for travelers who want to avoid the congestion and noise of San José.
- Escazú is a great place to escape the summer heat and high humidity with the elevated setting offering slightly cooler climes.
- There’s no need to travel to San José with ample services—including doctors, shops, pharmacies, and gyms—available in Escazú.
How to get there
Escazú is about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) west of central San Jose. A taxi will get you there in about 20 minutes. Regular buses and mini-buses run between Escazú and San José, though many tours include hotel pickup.
When to get there
Visit during the dry season between December and April. During this time, you can expect ample sunshine and comfortable temperatures that hover around 75°F (24°C).
What to See in Escazú
Though there are no big-name sights in Escazú, there are a couple of notable attractions dotted around San Rafael de Escazú. Admire the white colonial-style facade of San Rafael de Escazú Cathedral and visit the Butterfly Kingdom Costa Rica, which offers the chance to stroll amid free-flying butterflies.
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- La Sabana Park
- Costa Rican Art Museum (Museo de Arte Costarricense)
- San Jose Central Market (Mercado Central)
- Children's Museum (Museo de los Ninos)
- National Theater (Teatro Nacional)
- Plaza de la Cultura
- Morazan Park
- Gold Museum
- Metallic Building (Ed)ificio Metálico)
- Jade Museum (Museo del Jade)
- Yellow House (Casa Amarilla)
- National Museum (Museo Nacional)
- Braulio Carrillo National Park
- Rescate Animal Zooave
- Orosi River Valley (El Valle del Rio Orosi)